A section of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders have dismissed claims that the Msambweni mini-poll is a political contest between former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

According to ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho who deputizes Raila in ODM will spearhead the campaigns, making the contest a battle of two deputies.

“It will be deputy versus deputy. We have a total of three by-elections at the Coast and we’re working to bag all the seats,” Sifuna said as quoted by Nation.

On his part, Minority Whip in the National Assembly Junet Mohammed noted that Joho has also it takes to lead the campaigns and win the seat.

“Joho is his match. We’re planning to reduce the contest to one between him [Ruto] and Joho and not between him and Raila,” Jubet said.

ODM has nominated former Gombato/Bongwe MCA Omar Boga for the seat that fell vacant following the death of Suleiman Dori.

Jubilee has not nominated any candidate, while Wiper has Shee Abdulrahman.

The debate on the contest being a Ruto vs Raila affair emanated from the DP’s side, with some of his allies noting that they’ll use the by-election to teach Raila a political lesson.

“We must defeat Raila in Msambweni. We can redefine our political future with victory. We, as Coast people, do not need Raila to negotiate our destiny,” former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said.

Ruto is believed to be supporting independent candidate Feisal Bader.